There is one precedent that works as an omen in the Islanders’ favor: They will be facing a player who was on the ice against them the last time they won a playoff series.
Yes, Jaromir Jagr was on the defending champion Penguins in 1993, when Al Arbour’s Islanders knocked them out on David Volek’s overtime goal. And Jagr, now 44, will be on the ice again Thursday night for Game 1, leading the Panthers as the Islanders try to end that dry spell.
Of course, the remarkable thing about that is that Jagr is still playing, still a leader and still a standout. John Tavares was asked if he plans to be in the NHL when he is Jagr’s age. “It’s hard to think,” he said after practice at IceWorks in Syosset on Wednesday. “I think that’s 19 years from now for me. It’s really hard to believe. But I sure would love to.”
As for Jagr being an opponent then and now, the Islanders captain said, “That is crazy to think, that’s for sure. Obviously we all hear about it, 23 years. Yeah, it’s pretty remarkable. I was three years old.”
Jagr appeared in 79 games for the Panthers this season and was the team leader in points, scoring 27 goals with 39 assists.